I started reading Rick Reilly's column about the underreported Williams' Sisters http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?id=4423192 and was genuinely confused, since SportsCenter usually goes nuts when they are playing in the slams. No one really cares about Tennis other than the slams, so it seemed to me that they were simply "reported" not "underreported." It didn't take me very long to get his point, though. It's not that they are underreported, it's that they could dominate the sport without really caring, and the 2009 US Open was no exception. They both took time off. Fashionistas they are! "Celebrity" boyfriends. It doesn't matter. With Venus playing against some Russian "ova," I decided to take a look at Venus' intensity and drive and watch tennis for the first time in years without my Streak for Cash on the line.
7:30pm. What the hell is David Robinson and Doug Flutie doing on Center Court? After I get over how diminutive Flutie really is, I am struck by a montage of feel good pictures of some school called the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. I'm not sure my kids would get into college if they were learning from Andre Agassi. A disastrous rendition of America the Beautiful by Rob Thomas and an unnamed guitarist followed Andre's Stay in School speech. My wife was getting peeved that I was watching this in the first place, and after an hour it hadn't even started yet. Closer to the matchtime, Pam Shriver interviews the Russian. I can't really understand a word she says, but it really doesn't matter, does it? After a brief interview with Venus, where she uttered one word answers to a couple of inane questions, Mary Carillo chides Shriver that she "cracks the Williams like walnuts." Oh my.
The first game of the first set starts just as everyone expected - Venus overpowers the young Russian (Her name is Dushevina) for the first couple of points. The older folks are starting to get a little sleepy, but then pow - a couple of double faults and a couple of mishits - and the Dush breaks serve! I am interested to see how Williams responds.
I was getting a little bored though waiting for some sort of response, I admit, so I turned the station with the young Russian leading the match. When I returned, I saw the trainer working on Venus' knee. Of course! If I were a heavy favorite and I were losing, I would be accentuating my balky knee myself - either that or leg cramps. I do hear Rob Thomas and Santana in the background, just to rub salt into Rob Thomas' wounds of a music career. Rob probably didn't get good enough seats to hear the background music?
I come back several minutes later to the Dush serving for the set, but I also see Venus moving around even better than before with the miracle knee wrap. I lose interest again for a little while, look up, and see that the first set has been stolen by the young Russian. Venus' knee has got to be hurting now more than ever.
And as the second set begins, we learn that the knee has been bothering Venus for 6 weeks. Why didn't someone tell Reilly? Back and forth the crippled Williams and the Dush go - point/counterpoint. Finally, serving for the set, Williams unleashes three tremendous serves. The young Russian looks rattled heading into set 3.
After Williams smoked the first 4 games, the young Russian appeared to finally get the concept of moving the hobbled Williams around the court and won the next three games. It's too late though and Williams ultimately won in the third set. Despite the announcers treating Williams like her leg was shot, it appeared to me that Williams' knee will be just fine. She alarmingly lacked any fire, though, even when the match was on the line in the second set. A couple of glares at the Dush was all she could muster at the end of the match. Based on this match, my review is that she loses in the second or third round. I hope that goes underreported.
P.S. Roddick must be excited to start his match at 11pm.
Monday, August 31, 2009
It was a beautiful night on the outskirts of Plymouth. Ten men had gathered, laptops in hand, to conduct (for me at least), the first annual NE Fantasy Football League Draft. I was skeptical, never having done a live draft before, that I would succeed in such a foreign environment. Usually, I just let the computer pick for me, but this time I had a game plan - SLEEPERS.
7pm. After a couple of beers from the kegerator, and a couple of scathing texts from my wife openly questioning both my manhood and maturity, the draft began. I believed that having the second pick was a Godsend. ESPN's computer suggested that I pick Michael Turner, but instead I chose Maurice Jones-Drew.
In a twelve man league, my euphoria was quickly replaced by dread as all the other good players were taken in front of my next pick - #23. Steve Slaton, Randy Moss, were all taken in front of me, so I settled for Reggie Wayne. My team wasn't shaping up so well since I picked a woman with a hyphenated name and a guy that I wished Jim Sorgi would throw to. Things improved though with my next three picks - Roddy White at 26, Jay Cutler at 47 and Antonio Gates at 50. I finally reached for that third beer.
My next pick, Knowshon Moreno at #71 was met with silence reserved only for new guys. But the computer told me to pick him!
I'm listening to the story of the drunk guy who crashed into the poles protecting the front door of the local liquor store, only to climb over the hood of his car to get inside when my turn came up at 74. Vikings D. I figured I had to take a Viking, being the "Through the Favre Hole" and everything, and I sure as hell wasn't going to take Favre. My philosophy was that Favre was going to turn the ball over in the redzone, which made it easier for the Vikings' D to turn the ball back over for a Pick Six. It was at this point too that I started looking at bye weeks and match ups. Next came Beanie, Jerricho Cotchery and Felix Jones. I sandwiched a kicker and a crappy QB between my fourth beer. The steal of the draft, I think was my next pick...Percy Harvin #146. Another Viking for Favre to overthrow in the red zone.
My draft ended with the Seahawks D, K Kris Brown and TE Marcedes Lewis. Noone was happy when when Mr. irrelevant was selected. I think overall that I have a mediocre team, but in a 12 team league, all of our teams are mediocre. My game plan of picking sleepers was only partly successful. I missed out on Slaton, Rice, Royal, etc., but got Felix Jones and Percy Harvin. We got next.